Actor/director/producer Tim Daly and a determined crew used just
eighteen days and one million dollars to produce this unusual study in grief.
Opening at the TriBeca Film Festival in New York, the movie features
actors with a theater background as well as television and film pros Edward
Hermann and Marsha Mason. The story
is strong, the actors skilled.
Daly has created a breathtaking sight. Saturating the extraordinary Vermont countryside in deep
color, rolling past physical beauty that is nearly impossible, but true, he
gives us a landscape that is visually overwhelming.
Shot in High Definition, not on film, this beautiful jolt is a strong
suggestion of what lies ahead in making movies.
But there is far more here than beauty. Disturbed by the American way of mourning
Ė three days and itís over - Daly and scriptwriter Peter Ferland
focus on Molly (Vinessa Shaw), a young widow haunted by images of her dead
husband. At family dinners,
Mollyís father (Edward Hermann) stays in his disconnected space, pretending
everything is fine while her mother (Marsha Mason) lunges brashly into the
reality of Mollyís behavior with her own solution:
her daughter will recover if she just finds another man.
Mollyís younger sister (Ari Graynor), sick of the family pretense
around her, turns a surly face to her sister in a desperate effort to get the
family to talk honestly.
When Molly meets Dennis (Tim Blake Nelson) and his uncle Happy (Tim
Daly), she is drawn to the cruelty of their trailer park culture.
Their collaboration starts slowly with invasion of the privacy of
strangers until finally Mollyís unresolved grief finds full channel as she
joins the men in violence that, for her, approaches the violence done to her
husband. Here, at last, is a way
she can tell family and community that nothing is right with her world.
Because her character, unlike that of her new partners, is basically
strong, she is suddenly checked by the shock of the pain of her victim.
Barbara Lloyd plays the victim of their violence in stunned
bewilderment. Hers is a moving
scene that cries out that the details of a personís life, the things she
values, her saved possessions, can be just as vulnerable and important as the
people she loves.
In a superb early
scene, Amy Van Nostrand plays a photo shop manager who delivers a running stream
of politically incorrect chatter at the expense of a customer who wilts before
our eyes. Van Nostrandís comic
timing is so good, so quick, that we realize how rarely we see this kind of
Tim Daly uses a sad premise to explore dual rural cultures by
showing us the explosion that can result when the two collide in their darkest
sides. As sad as the movie is, as
violent as it becomes, one thing is certain.
Vermont has never looked more beautiful than it does in High Definition.
Copyright (c) Illusion
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